Where Is the Data Movement Going?
Maybe the computers that retain a sick amount of data and tool sets that retrieve information and build models really fast do not help the matter all that much after all. Maybe, the way we approach the data is off-course. Maybe, the users of the tool sets are messing it all up. So, let’s break it down.
About a decade ago, a movie called “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise came out. Not particularly a great science fiction movie. But since it came out, I have been quoting parts of it as an example of the future of personalized marketing. So did many other data professionals. But allow me to bring it up one more time, as it laid out the steps the marketers and data players must consider in an easy-to-understand fashion.
In that movie, Tom Cruise’s character, a senior detective named John Anderton, runs away from the bad guys and replaces his eyes with someone else’s to distract the omnipresent retina scanners. Then he walks into a department store to be greeted by a computer configured for personalized marketing. Allow me share the script verbatim, so that we can re-live this scene:
- As Anderton walks in the door and gets his new eyes scanned, we hear a voice say:
- STORE VOICE: “Hello, Mr. Yakamoto! Welcome back to the Gap.”
- Anderton stops cold as a holographic image of a huge Asian man now appears, standing in front of him.
- STORE VOICE: “How did those assorted tank tops work out for you?”
- Anderton stops and stares at the thug-like previous owner of his eyes who is now shown wearing a sweater that changes from color to color.
- STORE VOICE: “Come on in and see how good you look in one of our new winter sweaters.”
Let us suspend our concerns about data privacy for a second (refer to “Don’t Do It Just Because You Can,” where I talked about the difference between being helpful and creepy), and break down what just happened here.
Stephen H. Yu is a world-class database marketer. He has a proven track record in comprehensive strategic planning and tactical execution, effectively bridging the gap between the marketing and technology world with a balanced view obtained from more than 30 years of experience in best practices of database marketing. Currently, Yu is president and chief consultant at Willow Data Strategy. Previously, he was the head of analytics and insights at eClerx, and VP, Data Strategy & Analytics at Infogroup. Prior to that, Yu was the founding CTO of I-Behavior Inc., which pioneered the use of SKU-level behavioral data. “As a long-time data player with plenty of battle experiences, I would like to share my thoughts and knowledge that I obtained from being a bridge person between the marketing world and the technology world. In the end, data and analytics are just tools for decision-makers; let’s think about what we should be (or shouldn’t be) doing with them first. And the tools must be wielded properly to meet the goals, so let me share some useful tricks in database design, data refinement process and analytics.” Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.